9/11 remembered at SCCC

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:17

NEWTON — Sussex County emergency personnel and residents gathered together on the grounds of Sussex County Community College for a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The annual ceremony took place adjacent to the Sussex County 9/11 Memorial, which was dedicated in 2003. The event is organized by 9/11 committee members, including Town of Newton Police Chief Michael Richards and former Sussex County Freeholder Glen Vetrano. Each year, a keynote speaker is chosen. Governor Chris Christie and former Governor Donald T. Di Francesco, have been among the past speakers. This year’s speaker was Elvis Duran, Morning Show Host for Max 106.3 and Z100. “I truly believe any one of you can come up and share your own 9/11 story,” Duran said. Duran told the crowd how on September 10, 2001, he was tired of playing the same songs on the radio and poking fun at celebrities. On September 11 while on the air, he heard a report of a helicopter that flew into one of the Twin Towers. As time progressed, he was told it was a small plane, and then, a commercial jet. “You didn’t know what it was that happened,” Duran recalled. “It took our breath away when we knew what happened.” Duran was surprised as the phones at Z100 continued to ring with reports with listeners attempting to find out what happened. When the first tower fell, Duran sent his staff home and watched the second tower fall from the rear mirror of his car while driving in Jersey City. “It didn’t seem real,” he said. From there, he questioned how his show would function. “We’re a show that usually has fun, what do we do?” he asked. On September 12 however, all 20 phone lines were ringing at 5:30 a.m. Duran plugged in his earphones and began taking phone calls. “September 12 is the day we’ll remember with pride,” Duran said. Calls came in asking for help from Ground Zero, asking if someone could provide booties for the dogs because their paws were getting cut. Others asked for coffee, and Z100 provided it to workers during rescue efforts. Another caller said he was walking by Exit 14 of the Turnpike and wanted his family to know he was safe, and for his wife to know he was alive. Duran said that day gave his radio career the purpose he was looking for. “It was that day I decided radio was important to people. It changed lives,” Duran said. The remembrance ceremony was rounded off with a military flyover, the raising and lowering of the colors, a wreath laying, music, and the release of doves.